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An Expat Talks about Living in Zug, Switzerland

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Zug

How long have you lived there?

18 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Even if you are not a "club" person join the Zug international Women's Club or the Men's Club.- You don't have to join in everything but you will meet a lot of different people - our relocation agent got us membership which was great. Hang out at the park in Cham on nice days - loads of expat mums down there and easy to meet others esp. if you have littel children (park is called Villette btw.)

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Whilst I have sometimes felt that there could be more general racial tolerance in this area we have never felt discriminated against personally. There seems to be more objection to people who are here as asylum seekers. We feel very comfortable here and our children have integrated well (they are now 8 and 10). They've picked up some German from the neighbourhood kids - and taught them a thing or two.

Overall I'd say, take it slowly, be polite and not too pushy and you'll soon be invited into the neighbour's gardens for drinks. To be invited into one of their homes takes a bit longer though! Also - make sure YOU introduce yourself to your new neighbours - don't wait for them to come to you. This was a tip from our relo lady and it really helped.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Mostly financial positions and no heavy industry. Lots of international firms have offices here (varying sizes) and many have English as their first language. Career opportunities are better for Europeans than us as they have less visa and work-permit restrictions now due to new bi-lateral agreements. Plenty of job-agencies in town and we got a list form our relo lady when I siad I might want to work. She also helped us with some advertising. There is a weekly paper with stacks of ads in as well which is quite effective and not too expensive.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Zug has very low personal and corporate taxation and most people are just here because of tehir jobs (expats that is). However, standard of living is good - lots of international restaurants, good train connections to other cities and areas, very nice local people once they get used to you - and we found that it really helped to learn a bit of German - the locals are REALLY keen to practice their English but we found a few stumbling words in German always broke the ice. Seem very sporty as well - lots of cyclists and in-line skaters out on the streets and MANY people swim in the lakes regulary. Walking is of course a big thing - who couldn't get hooked with the gorgeous mountains right on the doorstep!!!

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Pack your bags and get on over here!!! Seriously - make sure you get a good agent to help you before you start - the help we got before we came was invaluable and she is still helping us on and off now when we have questions (Nicky at Le Concierge); talk to your kids a lot in advance so they are in on the adventure from the start and try to get them to understand that things will be different and their favorite peanut butter may not be available (tip: Gourmet Garage in Z├╝rich can be a lifesaver!); be prepared to spend a lot of energy at the beginning making new friends and getting involved - after a while you'll find one or two good friends and the effort will be worth it; above all keep an open mind, be patient with yourselves and the experience and don't worry if you have homesick days.

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